Album Review: Twisted Sister, 3CD “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll”, “Come Out and Play” and “Love Is For Suckers”
Featuring three “must-have” albums for 80’s classic metal fans, this new 3CD set from Armoury Records is culled from the bulk of Twisted Sister’s studio output for Atlantic Records (with the exception of the obvious mega-hit “Stay Hungry”). As a longtime Twisted Sister fan, I have all these releases on various formats and prefer this package over all of them except the original vinyl. The three releases have a nice, quality mastering (no low volume levels like the old CD pressings had) and come packaged in a single jewel case with most of the complete artwork for each album included (minus lyrics) and feature seven total “bonus” tracks.
First up in this set is 1983’s breakthrough major label debut, “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” which was the follow up to their indie debut (and my personal favorite TS album) “Under The Blade”. The album cover actually says a lot about the music contained within; the stark, simple and to the point “metalshop” rendering of the famous TS logo and the simple words “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll”. Most of the songs on this record are classics (“The Kids are Back”, title track) and there’s probably only a couple of songs that don’t stand out all these years later. Revisiting this version has me hearing genius in other songs from the album as well, songs like “Like a Knife in the Back” and “Live to Ride”. I still think the riff to “We’re Gonna Make It” sounds like “There’s Only One Way To Rock” and it seems odd burying the best song at the end of the album but those are minor gripes. “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” is a classic Gold certified album that set the stage for “Stay Hungry” and at least one of the three bonus tracks here is bound to move you as well (I dig the repetitive but cool “Feel The Power”).
Next up is the possibly the most controversial and divisive album of the band’s career, 1985’s “Come Out and Play”. This album was considered a massive disappointment for years but the fact of the matter is that most metalheads would have loved the record if it would have been two songs shorter. “Leader of The Pack” is by far the worst song ever recorded by Twisted Sister and possibly the worst major single/video release of the entire MTV era. “Be Crool To Your Scuel” isn’t quite as bad but still not far behind with it’s silly 50s, poppy vibe and overextended guest spots. I’m all for bands exploring or moving boundaries but Billy Joel and Clarence Clemons don’t belong on a metal album. The funny thing is how much those two singles/videos effected the general public’s opinion of this album. Sure, those songs suck REAL BAD but the rest of the album is absolutely killer beyond question with the title track being one of the very best songs in a crowded catalog of Twisted classics. Re-sequence your CD player and listen to “I Believe In Rock And Roll”, “Kill Or Be Killed” “The Fire Still Burns” or ANY of the other songs on this album and you will be rocked. The only negative about this release of “Come Out and Play” is that the cover art can’t touch the original vinyl version with the opening manhole cover gimmick.
Lastly, the set concludes with another misunderstood but fun Twisted release, 1987’s “Love is For Suckers”complete with four bonus tracks that weren’t on the original release. The album was reportedly a Dee Snider solo project, featuring contributions from much of the Atlantic metal roster at the time (members of TNT, KIX, Winger) and you can definitely hear those contributions, particularly Steve Whiteman of KIX. The entire record has more of a typical hair metal “Dial MTV” feel to it lyrically and sonically complete with a totally by the numbers production by Beau Hill. This does sort of contribute to “Suckers” sounding more like a Widowmaker/Dee product and less like a Twisted album sometimes as in the title track or the first video/single “Hot Love”. The songs themselves are actually pretty strong, especially on the first half of the album with “Wake Up The Sleeping Giant”and “Tonight” being fun highlights. The bonus tracks here are not nearly as strong as the ones on “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” and by the time you reach them it is just instinct to want to stop and put in “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” or “Come Out and Play” because it no longer feels like you are listening to Twisted Sister. The album not doing well was probably a really good thing for Twisted’s legacy. Twisted Sister were leaders not followers, true originals,old school, east coast metalheads . Who would have wanted a series of albums where Twisted tried to keep up with the times and be Ratt, White Lion, etc?
If you don’t have these albums in your collection and only have “Stay Hungry” you need this collection if you’re an 80’s metal dork with any sense at all. Click here to buy it TODAY!
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